One of the more disturbing aspects of globalization is the phenomenon of traveling for paid sex. It seems ridiculous when you consider the expense and the effort for something that happens everywhere on earth, so why is it a growing industry?
Let’s begin with getting the concepts straight. We all like to have sex and who doesn’t love to travel, find exotic places and experience eroticism with a different flavour? But “Sex Tourism” is not about Shirley Valentine-styled romance and sex on a Greek island. Actually “Prostitution Tourism” is the most accurate term, and often “Rape Tourism” would also be apt. The point of the travel is to have sex with women outside of one’s own country or region, usually but not always, by men, with women and girls who charge less, do more for your foreign money and can be selected with greater ease, the way one would pick out a new pet.
Just for the record, beautiful, young women in Asia and the Caribbean are not fawning over old, drunk Europeans and North Americans because they find their beetroot-red, sun-burnt bodies attractive or their otherness exotic. They are seeing Euros and Dollars at a time when no-one else in their family can earn enough local currency to keep the children’s stomachs full or to get these girls out of poverty’s rut.
A large part of the appeal of traveling for paid sex is the things one can do abroad that they cannot or dare not do closer to home. For some guys, prostitution is illegal back home, or perhaps legal but there is some danger of being discovered. For pedophiles, the ability to buy young girls and boys with great ease (particularly in Thailand, Cambodia, India, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico).
A certain Peter Friedman, who seems to be looking for a way to support his vulgar habit by writing guide books on how to go about sex tourism, is proof of the lowly ethic. One of his title, “Age of Consent: a Sex Tourist’s Guide” with its non-apologetic title and its world map, tries to suggest that this reality is normative. Just for the record, having sex with a child is rape, and in a growing number of Western countries, a person can be arrested for it in their own country after exploiting a minor anywhere else in the world. Now if only we could enforce this law properly.
Well, I for one am pointing a finger and shaming you, Mr Friedman. Personally, I doubt that anyone does download his Kindle books, but I think he knows that because nobody wanted to put them into print. Besides, his other e-books on prostitution and finding sex online do not make him and his travel buddies seem sex-positive, just creepy.